Saturday, June 3, 2023

National Trails Day 2023


I participated in my own way in National Trails Day. I hope you did, too.

Visit #1426, Saturday 3 June 23, 7:45-11:00AM, 5.7 miles, 6.7 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 60s, cloudy, cool, breezy, and a chance of showers.

Honestly, I FORGOT about National Trails Day! But as I was returning to my car after today's hike, I met someone who reminded me of the day. Like back-dating a check, I gave myself credit for participating.

But this week's entry starts before National Trails Day.

During last weekend's hike I noticed some new graffiti carved into the posts at the Halfway House. So mid-week I took a mountain bike ride to the Halfway House to paint over it.

That was just one post, but I covered over all I found, using up the entire can of spray paint.

On Saturday as I walked around Merimere Resevoir and passed by Echo Point, I saw these strange, religious themed items posted on a couple trees.

I removed all of it, including the staples! You've got to wonder what kind of person would go to the effort to do this.

Further on up the road I met a new person, Casey. Casey was walking his four month old Beauceron, Jacob. I'd never heard of the breed so Casey gave me background.

For a four month old puppy, Jacob was already well trained, and calm. What was even more interesting was, Casey was training Jacob using commands spoken in Polish, not English! And since Casey didn't really speak Polish, he was using made-up words that sounded like Polish words he remembered from his youth! While it sounded like nonsense to me, Jacob clearly knew his commands!

What a cute puppy. That's redundant, isn't it?

As part of my National Trails Day activities, I continued trimming the roadsides to East/West Peaks, working toward West Peak. I made several hundred feet of progress which was much more than I expected.

After an hour of that fun, I picked up the trails again and proceeded to check out how the weed killer I applied at the Halfway House last week was doing.

And that was my contribution to National Trails Day.

Pro tip: With the warmer weather of summer comes mosquitos. Consider bringing insect repellent with you on your hikes. I know I will.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Yard Work

 Visit #1425, Saturday 27 May 23, 7:15-9:15AM, 4.6 miles, 1.8 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 60s, sunny and dry.

Yard work; what I saw a lot of people engaged in as I rode my bike this Memorial Day weekend.

I did a little bit of "yard work" myself this weekend in Hubbard Park.

I hadn't hiked by the Halfway House in a number of weeks and as has been my experience, the grass starts to get high and the weeds grow like crazy around May/June.

To keep them under control, I brought some weed killer this week and sprayed it liberally around the Halfway House.

Sometime in June I'll put in a request to the Meriden Parks Department asking them to give the area its annual crew cut. In the meantime I'll report to you on the progress of the weed killer.

Besides the weed killer I used my loppers liberally to trim low hanging branches, and hedge clippers to push back the thorn bushes.

Now it's time to enjoy the rest of the Memorial Day weekend, and pause to remember those who died serving our country.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

In The Nick Of Time


Rain's a comin'.

Visit #1424, Saturday 20 May 23, 8:00-9:50AM, 1.7 miles, 4.1 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the high 50s/low 60s, cloudy with rain forecasted.

Today I was ready to finish trimming the roadside to Castle Craig. In anticipation of the rain I hoped to time my finishing before it started.

I made it! After reaching this interim goal, I stopped for a bit and picked up litter around the parking lot and Castle Craig.

With my remaining allotted time for today, I started trimming the roadside toward West Peak. Just when it was time to pack up and leave, it started to rain.

I look forward to the second half of my long term project, trimming the roadside to West Peak. With luck I may finish this year!

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Happy Anniversary!


Happy 10th Anniversary to the blog! The blog actually existed for five years prior to that by direct e-mail postings to select individuals, for security reasons. There's no telling whether I'll make it to the 20th anniversary!

Visit #1423, Sunday 14 May 23, 6:45-9:20AM, 5.6 miles, 2.6 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 50s to low 60s, sunny with a light breeze.

My chainsaw was fueled from some unrelated work on Saturday and I didn't want to drain the fuel tank, so I decided to schlep it into Hubbard Park on Sunday to remove a fallen tree which I discovered in April.

I walked around Merimere Reservoir and just before reaching the trail head I found this hall pass.

I sent Mr. Migliaro, from the Security Team at Norwalk High School, an e-mail asking him to talk to Gabe about littering! I'll be curious to see if I get a response.

Removing the fallen tree was going to be easy.

I packed up the chainsaw and proceeded up the trail. Along the way I kept finding these pink ribbons tied around trees, just as I did in April.

Today I found 13 of 'em. And as in April, I removed all of them.

Let's see if this trend repeats itself.

I continued hiking over to West Peak where I cleaned up the parking area and the trail to the peak.

I also found some new graffiti.

Out came the tools and I scrubbed away.

Returning to the park, I stopped to admire my recent work replacing a broken plank on the wooden walkbridge. With a week's dirt and footprints, it's blending in nicely with the existing planks.

After returning to the parking lot and heading toward my car I found a quarter!

I figured it must be my 10th Anniversary present but alas, the U.S. quarter has no tin or aluminum in it. A quarter is actually composed of nickel and copper.

I'm not fussy; I'll take it!

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Back On Track


It was a postcard perfect day in Hubbard Park. A week late considering the rained out Daffodil Festival.

My solution to the what the organizers might have you believe is a frequent Daffodil Festival problem (rain)-tear out the daffodils, plant flowers that bloom in May and change the name of the festival!

Which is why no one asks my opinion ever and James J. Barry, who brought daffodils to Hubbard Park, is giving me the stink-eye from the grave.

Visit #1422, Saturday 6 May 23, 6:45-10:00AM, 5.3 miles, 1.6 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 60s, sunny.

Visit #1423, Sunday 7 May 23, 7:00-7:30AM, mileage and litter n/a.

I've been waiting all spring for the right conditions to return to trimming the roadsides to East/West Peak.

This week was it.

All the rain which washed out the Daffodil Festival and the rain we received last week resulted in Merimere Reservoir's strong flow.

Reaching the south end of Merimere Reservoir, I found this memorial card perched on a large rock where many people sit to enjoy the view.

I've redacted the particulars but I will tell you she was originally from North Stonington CT and resided in Florida when passing. None of her family members were from the local area so I don't know what the association with Hubbard Park is, perhaps a friend.

Up near Castle Craig I resumed roadside trimming where I left off last fall.

Done with this session, I hiked the Blue Trail down to the north end of Merimere Reservoir and followed the road back to the the park.

But I wasn't done for this week.

Leaving the trail and walking the road back to the park Saturday, I spied some new graffiti on the jersey barrier at the north end of Merimere Reservoir.

Knowing I could address this with minimal time investment, I returned to the spot early Sunday morning.

While cleaning up, I saw mom and pop with their future turd factory progeny.

All in all, a wonderful weekend.


Sunday, April 30, 2023

Pete The Carpenter


Another rain slogged weekend. The Daffodil Festival can't catch a break.

Visit #1421, Sunday 30 April 23, 7:45-9:45AM, 4.2 miles, 2.0 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 50s, rain.

On Thursday-a sunny day believe it or not- I rode my mountain bike in Hubbard Park. Reaching the walkbridge near the beehive fountain, I found the walkbridge had been vandalized and one of the planks broken in half.

Hmmm; what to do about it?

Well, early Saturday morning in yet more rain, I returned to take some measurements. Hiking in, I found the hat and bottle. I'll clean both and bring them to Goodwill. Actually, they were where you see them on my Thursday mountain bike ride yet no one bothered to take them during the intervening days.

Later on that rainy Saturday I went shopping for repair parts for the bridge.

On Sunday morning, I hiked in with a brand new board and tools.

My checklist:

1- 2x6" pressure treated board, I cut it to 48" length, pre-drilled it for screws and painted the board at home. Installed with the relieved edge facing up.

6 - tamper resistant screws suitable for outdoor use and pressure treated lumber.

-And all the tools so the job goes smoothly.

As a bonus, I'm left with a perfect 48" piece of lumber should another plank need replacement, and enough screws left over for next time.

I celebrated my successful job by enjoying a continued hike in the rain.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Under The Weather


I assure you; despite the Daffodil Festival, parking in Hubbard Park was NOT a problem. The rain saw to that.

Visit #1420, Sunday 23 April 23, 10:55-11:45AM, 1.8 miles, 14.0 lbs. of litter.

Temps in the 50s with rain, rain, and more rain.

Yes, I paid attention to the weekend weather forecast and Saturday would have been more favorable (read: drier) for a hike. But my day job got in the way.

I almost cancelled this week's activities altogether but the title fit perfectly with the rain AND my current state.

I contracted a beautiful case of poison ivy last week and I just wasn't feeling well. Both legs, arms, stomach, chin, and near places only your doctor or toilet paper goes.

But like I said; the title fit perfectly so I couldn't waste the opportunity.

With the rain, the park was a graveyard, and a soggy one at that. By hike's end I was soggy too.

But Hubbard Park still revealed some interesting finds that made the trudge worth it.

Reaching West Main Street across from Belmont Avenue, I picked up this car part.

On the return trip, I found this tag. Looks pretty official, so I left it alone. I can't find any info on what Yale might be researching in Hubbard Park or why they tagged a fallen tree.

Leaning against another tree was a memorial rock.

In case you're having a hard time reading it, it says, "In Loving Memory of Jack Daniels Lewis 2006-2022". I couldn't find any local obituary listings for 16 year old Jack. I wonder what the relation is between Jack's passing and Hubbard Park? It's not the first time I've found similar memorials.

Hung on the same tree- I'll guess "E.L." is a relative of Jack.

And just how hard was it raining-check out this brook which feeds Mirror Lake.

There are times during the year when that brook is dry!

I finished up and went home to scratch that itch.